How to Graciously Accept Feedback in 6 Simple Steps

Feedback is like an oyster…its true beauty and value can go unnoticed due to its unappealing exterior. However, those that look beyond the surface are often rewarded (with pearls…of wisdom).

Although it has arguably taken a long time, organisations are finally recognising the value of feedback and now actively seek and act upon continuous feedback to improve their product/service offerings, customer relations, and brand. The increasing popularity of social media and comparison sites/platforms have given customers the bargaining power and as a result, organisations are eagerly seeking feedback to ensure they are delivering exactly what their customers expect.

Individuals on the other hand, both in their personal and professional lives, are still far less likely to actively seek feedback. Whether you are just starting your career or are nearing retirement, the value of feedback cannot be emphasised enough. Actively seeking feedback from your fellow professionals, both junior and senior is the easiest way increase your self-awareness and to improve as a professional and as a person.

When was the last time you voluntarily sought feedback from your friends, family, or peers?

Organisations are increasingly encouraging and requiring employees to gather 360 feedback as a method of evaluating and improving performance. Although a step in the right direction, this tends to align with the organisations performance review cycle/calendar meaning employees usually only gather feedback once to twice a year at pre-defined intervals, rather than at times which suit the employees’ needs (e.g. at the end of a project). With apps such as Candid Colleagues, you can take initiative to frequently gather feedback at times which suit your professional development rather than relying on the performance calendar of your employer.

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions” which has the ability to make us bitter or better…the choice is yours

Feedback can very quickly motivate or demotivate people based on how it is delivered and how it is received. Try to practice the following when seeking and receiving feedback:

  1. Plan and Prepare- Define who you believe is best positioned to provide you feedback and when is the best time have the conversation(s). Feedback, when uninvited can come across as criticism, so take initiative to shortlist individuals, plan 1–2–1 sessions, and prepare yourself to mentally take it all on board.
  2. Listen- One of the hardest things to do when you feel like you are being evaluated or judged is to listen without allowing your defence mechanism to kick in. Remain neutral and actively listen to the feedback that you are being given without reacting (positively or negatively).
  3. Be Carefully Selective- You will most likely not agree with all the feedback you receive. However, do not let one piece of outlandish feedback discredit the rest of the valid feedback which has been provided. Be selective with what you do and do not take on board. Remember, one apple doesn’t spoil the bunch.
  4. Consider the Credibility- Take into consideration the source of the feedback, their relationship to you, their experience, and their intentions. You may find yourself disagreeing with feedback provided by a highly trustworthy and experienced colleague of yours and agreeing with feedback provided by a close friend who is sparing your feelings. Step back and evaluate where the feedback is coming from and seek a second opinion if required. Feedback is often only as reliable and credible as its source.
  5. Take Your Time- Gather the feedback you receive from all your sources and take your time evaluating it before jumping to any conclusions. Look for trends and commonalities in the feedback, reflect on the validity, and consider actions which you can take to make best use of the feedback.
  6. Follow Up- Be sure to follow up with your peers to better understand the feedback you have been provided, challenge anything you truly disagree with and to measure whether you have been successfully acting upon the feedback over time.

Feedback, when provided genuinely, takes time and effort and should not be taken for granted. Graciously accept feedback, take control of your professional development, and use it to improve your personal brand.

Check out Candid Colleagues, releasing in late 2016 for Android and iOS devices. If you are interested in receiving exclusive access and directly contributing to future releases, sign up as a beta tester here.

Candid Colleagues Privacy Note: Your privacy will always be protected. You will only be visible on the app if you choose to create an account. You can only exchange feedback with colleagues you have invited or connected with on the app. You will have full control over which feedback is displayed on your profile and which isn’t. You are free to deactivate your account anytime.

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